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Improvised Survival Gear | 7 DIY Projects For Preppers



Feature | A man preparing to cook in the mountain | Improvised Survival Gear | DIY Projects For Preppers

Don’t let MacGyver have all the fun, but learn to make a DIY improvised survival gear because you never know when you might need it!

RELATED: 18 Survival Gear Items From The Dollar Store

In this article:

  1. Coffee Can Heater
  2. Non-Electric Refrigerator
  3. Simple Water Filter
  4. Milk Jug Lamp
  5. Shortening Candle
  6. Mint Tin Stove
  7. Battery Converter

DIY Improvised Survival Gear You Need to Know

1. Coffee Can Heater

Imagine a widespread power outage, and it’s freezing both outdoors and indoors. Are you going under a thick blanket of sheets or stay huddled in the corner to try to keep yourself warm?

We suggest you learn to make this improvised heater from a coffee can, toilet paper, and alcohol. You can find these household essentials in most buildings, so wherever you find yourself you can make this survival gear.

Make and use this improvised heater with caution though and make sure a fire extinguisher is close.

2. Non-Electric Refrigerator

Whether it’s an unexpected power outage or when you’re living off the grid, you will find this improvised refrigerator the coolest thing ever. In fact, it will help keep your perishable food longer for up to three weeks.

In the case of SHTF, you can extend your food supply with this improvised survival gear. By also keeping tabs on expiration dates and storing short-lived foods, you get to extend your food supply.

3. Simple Water Filter

We cannot stress enough the importance of water when it is, in fact, one of the pillars of survival. Safe-drinking water is even more important, so this improvised water filter should be something you should learn to make.

Remember you cannot be too sure about the safety of your drinking water. While this survival gear filter sediments, debris, and even the funky smell out, other harmful organisms may still lurk.

Boiling is still one of the most effective forms of making water safe for drinking. There are also other chemical means to purify water, but boiling water is the most accessible.

4. Milk Jug Lamp

Illuminate your room, outdoors, or your tent by creating an ambient light from a milk jug and a small source of light. This improvised gear should be perfect for reading and other activities you need to do with light.

RELATED: How To Make An Improvised Camping Lantern

5. Shortening Candle

Now you know you can make an improvised candle from a can of Cisco vegetable shortening. So, if you find yourself without light, just head straight to the cupboard and get this thing done fast.

You can have this candle going for weeks so if you run out of batteries and candles, this will suffice until normal power returns, or not.

6. Mint Tin Stove

Follow the full instructions and the step-by-step guide to this DIY mint tin stove survival gear. This survival gear DIY will allow you to carry more essentials with you on a camp or in your bugout bag.

You can also check out this improvised stove from an aluminum soda can.

7. Battery Converter

This homemade survival equipment permits you to work on survival items at hand. Even the best of us make mistakes and anyone can easily forget batteries and battery sizes.

Well, thankfully you can convert AAA batteries into AAs so you won’t have to fret over batteries that aren’t available.


Find the full instructions the full infographic here!

Infographic | Disaster Survival | Improvised Survival Gear | DIY Projects For Preppers


Knowing how to make your own survival gear is an extremely valuable survival skill. You never know when they might come in handy, and they come in handy indeed making you appreciate you took time to learn them.

So add more DIY survival hacks and survival tricks up your sleeves including making your own DIY improvised survival gear. These seven badass improvised survival gear projects for preppers should be a fantastic start.

Which improvised survival gear have you tried to make or are you going to try to make? Share your plans with us in the comments section below! 

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For awesome survival gear, you can’t make at home, check out the Survival Life Store!

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 3, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  1. richard1941

    April 21, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Some inside and outside temperature measurements would be nice on the evaporative cooling methods.

    • JJM

      February 5, 2016 at 11:16 AM

      Evaporative cooling might work OK in low humidity locations but not too good for me.
      In SE Texas I’ve made the following summertime tests:
      2012: Zeer pot-in-pot, roughly same size as the video showed being filled outside. 5 days of tests resulted in 10 degree drop in temperature. Note that the pots and wet sand also serve as insulation to help preserve night-time coolness.
      2013: Modified Zeer pot, large coffee can with LOTS of large holes drilled out with wet rags inside and pint jar in center. 5 days of tests resulted in average of 12 degree drop in temperature (average 83 deg vs 95 deg).
      2014: Frio Insulin Cooler for personal portable use. 2 weeks of testing. Daytime with humidity less than 45% results in 14 deg drop in temp (average 84 deg vs 98 deg). Nighttime with humidity more than 75% results in 5.6 deg drop in temp (average 79.7 deg vs 85.3 deg). Average temp drop ~ 10 degrees.
      Note that all 2012 & 2013 measurements were done in the afternoon and I must assume that the humidity was less than 50% for those tests.
      Best cooling results so far were 2013 measurements in an insulated 4′ deep post-hole which resulted in temperature drops of 16 degrees (average 79 deg vs 95 deg).

  2. Rich

    April 22, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    The only problem I see with the toilet paper heater is, they make coffee cans out of plastic now. The brand I use is plastic.


      October 15, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      Yes, most coffee comes in Plastic cans now.. To get a metal can, go to Lowes and ask for a 1-Gallon Empty Paint can with a lid and bail handle.. They have them or will order them for you. It is a good idea to keep one of these in your car in the winter.. in case of a wreck on a road where there is not much traffic or if you break down and can’t run the heater in your car.. it will keep you warm until helps comes.

      • Sedition

        January 25, 2016 at 10:21 PM

        You can also check at your local grocery store where they sell condiments in large quantities. One gallon of Ketchup usually comes in a metal can. Store the ketchup in smaller containers and wash out the main can.

    • JJM

      February 5, 2016 at 10:53 AM

      WalMart Great Value 24 oz is the only coffee I find in a metal can anymore.
      Lowes and Ace carry the empty paint cans in different sizes.

    • Chuck S

      February 13, 2016 at 3:21 PM

      Maybe you should just buy a kerosene or oil lamp.

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  6. Elise

    June 8, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    These things exist? Pretty damn cool! I need to try some of these out for sure!

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  35. Mark S Schafer

    January 12, 2024 at 12:44 PM

    What is miracle grow made of? Are the decomposition products from burning it toxic?

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